G-7 Nations Vow to Produce Climate Pledges by March

Bloomberg BNA — Seven of the world's top economies pledged they will “lead by example” to produce an ambitious international climate accord by putting their pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions on the table by March 2015, well ahead of talks later that year where the deal is to become final.

The statement, offered by Group of Seven leaders at the conclusion of their June 4-5 summit in Brussels, also acknowledged the increasing challenge of energy security in Europe following Russia's annexation of Crimea in March. Russia's move led to the cancellation of the previously scheduled meeting of top economic powers in Russia.

The June 5 summit declaration called for all seven economic powers to produce a comprehensive assessment of their energy systems and consider ways to shore up “the resilience of critical infrastructure, transit routes, supply chains and transport” of natural gas and other energy supplies. The pledge was prompted in part by Russia's move into Crimea, which has triggered many European nations, particularly Eastern Europe, to rethink their dependence on Russian natural gas supplies.

The G-7 statement also reaffirmed a vow to phase down hydrofluorocarbons under the Montreal Protocol and said the U.S. will propose two rules this summer: one to promote the use of “climate-friendly alternatives” to the highly potent greenhouse gases and another to bar the use of certain HFCs in some applications, such as vehicle air conditioning.

The seven countries are the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the U.K.

Nations Reiterate $100 Billion Climate Funding

The G-7 also reaffirmed a commitment made by the U.S. and other industrialized countries at the 2009 climate summit in Copenhagen to provide $100 billion a year from public and private sources to developing nations to help them adapt to climate impacts and cut their emissions.

Raising a significant amount of climate finance for developing nations is widely viewed as a key component to getting developing countries to sign on to the international climate accord, which is to be concluded in Paris in December 2015.

“We reaffirm our support for the Copenhagen Accord commitments” to mobilize the $100-billion-a-year amount, according to the statement, “to address the climate mitigation and adaptation needs of developing countries in the context of their meaningful and transparent mitigation actions” those developing nations are expected to offer under the 2015 deal.

Ben Rhodes, U.S. deputy national security adviser, told reporters June 5 that other G-7 leaders welcomed news this week of the Obama administration's plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants as “concrete” evidence that the U.S. is fulfilling the 2009 pledge it made to cut its greenhouse gas emissions in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate summit. The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its proposed power plant limits on June 2.

The 2009 U.S. pledge called for cutting its overall emissions 17 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels. Environmental groups that are analyzing the EPA's proposal say the U.S. is likely to make good on that pledge if the power plant rules—which President Barack Obama wants to become final in 2016—aren't significantly weakened over the next year.

Obama, in a news conference following the Brussels summit, touted his administration's June 2 plan to cut power plant carbon pollution 30 percent by 2030 from 2005 levels as “one of the most ambitious steps that any nation has taken to combat climate change.”

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